My mom passed Oct. 5, 2010 at the age of 66. I found out that she had been admitted to the hospital in Trenton, NJ  in the middle of September where my parents lived. I high tailed it to NJ from NC and found out that she had stomache/liver and lung cancer. She told me that she wanted to live and to come back to NC with me and attend Duke University Hospital for cancer treatment. I was able to contact the director of the cancer center and get a appointment for the following week. On the day of her release Sunday , my aunt and I loaded 13 tanks of oxigen and my mom hooked up to one,into my car and headed for NC. Her appointment at Duke was for Tuesday Oct. 5th at 9am. When we got to NC my mom was so relieved to be "home" and told me that she loved me and life could not get better than this. We stayed up the next night laughing and talking about our "breaking her out of the hospital".She told me that she was tired and wanted to rest and kissed me. That night she started getting delirous and screaming and we had her rushed to Duke a day early. After they sedated her, doctors could not rouse her. I went in the room and kissed her forehead and one of my tears hit her eyelids. She turned her head and opened her eyes and looked at me and mouthed "I love you" and went back under again. The cancer was so far spread that they told me that she would have to permanently have a life support breathing(tube down her throat) in order to live because her right lung had collapse and she was only living off of 2/3 of her left lung. This was devastating to me! Doctors wanted to know if I wanted her to live like this or for them to remove the breathing tube. They said she was not coharent and could not answer the question for them. I went into the room and held her hand and called her name and kissed her. She opened her eyes and looked at me. I told her what the doctors said and asked her if she wanted to live like this. One blink for no and two blinks for yes. She sqeezed my hand and blinked one time for me. I asked her again just to be sure and she smiled and blinked one time again. I told the docs to remove the breathing tube. She held my hand and looked at me smiling until she passed a half hour later. Even though I was able to spend that precious time with her, I still feel like I have let her down because she told me that she wanted to live. I am having a hard time dealing with this and my 7 year old daughter is my rock support. Whenever she see me cry she grabs me and tells me that Nana is in a better place, she's not hurting anymore, and she probably has all the angels eating vegetables! How do you move on? I am a teacher assistant in pre-k and find myself bursting in tears at any given moment.

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Vandella...I'm so sorry for your loss. I feel we share the same heartache. I lost my Mom 34 days (not that I'm counting) ago and it still feels like it just happened yesterday. I still burst into tears at any given moment... I try not to and know my Mother wouldn't want me to be sad because of her but sometimes I can't help it. I just miss her! Somehow it comforts me to know others have felt like I am feeling and somehow we all make it through each day. Please know when your Mom was in the hospital you did exactly what she wanted. My Mom always told me she did not want to be on any life support and had a DNR for the last several years. The day my Mom passed away I was with her and the medical staff told me because her body was shutting down she was uncomfortable. Her heart was pumping like crazy which could cause a heart attack, her lungs were filling with fluid, and she was having a difficult time breathing. It was obvious she was in discomfort. I was hoping my brother who was driving to the hospital would get there before she passed but he was still an hour away when they told me she was uncomfortable. The nurse told me they would like to give her a little morphine to "relax" her heart & breathing etc. So I Okayed the morphine and they gave her a half dose. (She had not been conscious since the night before) Within about 15 minutes her breathing slowed down and the last 5 minutes I could tell she was taking her last breaths. She died within 20 minutes after being given the morphine. Needless to say it was the hardest thing I've ever experienced. Afterwards I felt such guilt wondering if I had made the right decision about that drug. She passed away before my brother arrived and I questioned afterwards what I had done. I felt like I had killed her in some way by okaying that morphine. The nurse told me if I had not given the okay for the morphine then Mom would have been struggling for hours in discomfort. A couple weeks later I called the Neurologist who had treated Mom because I could not stop thinking about the morphine. He told me to not ever doubt that I made the right decision. He said "it was just her time" and whether it was an hr later or 10 minutes she was going to pass that day and morphine had nothing to do with her death. He said the morphine only helped her discomfort and it did NOT kill her. He told me the only difference if I had not authorized the drug was that she would have been uncomfortable until the moment she passed. He said the morphine only helped her to be peaceful when the time did come and to not ever doubt I made the right decision. He told me...no matter if your Mom wanted to live or not...her body was not going to let her. He asked me what would your Mom do if the situation was reversed and it was your Mother making the decision for you? I know Mom would have helped me be peaceful when it was my time. She would have honored my wish to not be on life support. She would never have wanted me to suffer and that is how I look at it now. I know in my heart I made the right decision for her. I'm not saying it’s easy to think about it but I know I did what was right for her. My Mom did not want any life support and I know she would never want me to feel I let her down. In fact right before she took her last couple of breaths, her eyes fluttered open for a second and she actually smiled. I was leaning down next to her ear telling her I loved her and kissing her cheek while holding her hand when she took her last breath. I think about it every day! Your Mother told you what she wanted and you honored that. I'm sure she would have done the same for you. You did not let her down; you helped her because you loved her. Please know you are not alone! We both made the right decision for our Mothers who we loved so much. Hugs to you and may your memories of your Mother comfort you forever.
Thank you so much for your words of comfort. It helps to know that someone else went thru the same situation and decision that I had to make. I know in my heart that I made the right decision but it still hurts. I know this is something that is going to take time so I am dealing with it one hour at a time. Many blessings to you and I hope your memories will get you thru this also.
Hi Vendella-my condolences!-we had my mom on life support--she had a stroke and heart failure--it was decided to let her pass. it was needless to say the most horrible day of my life! My sister and father were with me. I kissed her goodbye through a veil of tears and we let them remove life support. We did not want to see her pass. It is still like a surreal dream to me after almost 2 months now. I cry every day--but I am noticing that her "spirit" is with me more now. I think my "mum" would want me to laugh and have fun every day! Hope my thoughts helped a little!

God bless
Frank.

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